In just a few days, a spoiled child prone to tantrums will have his finger on the nuclear button. As Commander-in-Chief, he gets to call that shot. It cannot be countermanded, unless there is a mutiny.
Just about anything one says about Donald Trump’s vulgar, oafish personality is eminently believable, including the latest unverified revelations. The “golden showers” business is good for a few snickers and guffaws, but the worst thing about the unsubstantiated intelligence briefing now making the rounds of cyberspace is how deeply implicated the President-elect may be in the Great Russian game plan. From “he’s a Manchurian candidate” to “anti-Russia hysteria reminiscent of the Cold War,” commentators and counter-commentators are speculating at the top of their lungs. Imagine conversations like this happening even five years ago.
I can no longer summon up the slightest sense of shock, let alone what seems to be increasingly pointless outrage. The whole world is being trolled. Where is a safe space when we need one?
And the Left is vanishing up its own fundament as I write this.
I’m getting trashed more by “progressives” these days than by right-wingers. The latter, thankfully, have given up on me. Perhaps I should be flattered that my erstwhile comrades still think I’m worth the trouble. Sneering contempt is, after all, a form of engagement. I’m not whining about this, by the way: I can and do give as good as I get, although it hardly seems fair in some instances. Admittedly, I have shown less patience of late with obscure points of doctrine. Dried-out husks of dogma are rolling about like tumbleweeds, but there seems to be a complete inability to discuss ideas. The very notion, in fact, appears to cause deep offence. Better to read, endlessly, off the tablets of the day, while wagging a finger.
What to do about Trump? Not much at the moment, and there’s the rub. What propelled him to the presidency? All we get is “Wuzn’t me.” Maybe, you know, we should build a movement. But wait—still having trouble with “allyship?” Let’s strike a committee and have a conference and denounce people.
Maybe we can go after some poor working-class schlub at Wilfred Laurier who dared utter the word “slave.” The cafe he ran has re-opened, with more vegan and gluten-free options. Yum.
Or we could run a campaign to clean up Halloween. Sombreros are out. Or we could censure the “Merry Christmas” bigots. Or lecture people on what they should and shouldn’t write about. Or put trigger warnings on damned near everything. A very partial list of topics requiring one of those TWs:
[M]isogyny, the death penalty, calories in a food item, terrorism, drunk driving, how much a person weighs, racism, gun violence, Stand Your Ground laws, drones, homophobia, PTSD, slavery, victim-blaming, abuse, swearing, child abuse, self-injury, suicide, talk of drug use, descriptions of medical procedures, corpses, skulls, skeletons, needles, discussion of “isms,” neuroatypical shaming, slurs (including “stupid” or “dumb”), kidnapping, dental trauma, discussions of sex (even consensual), death or dying, spiders, insects, snakes, vomit, pregnancy, childbirth, blood, scarification, Nazi paraphernalia, slimy things, holes and “anything that might inspire intrusive thoughts in people with OCD.”
As Spock would say, deadpan, “Fascinating.” He was a person of few words.
We may be facing 1933 all over again, this time with nukes. Don’t look now—trigger warning!—but fascism is rising out of a shallow grave, prematurely buried as it turns out, and he’s pissed. What to do, what to do. I know: let’s ban applause.
The saving grace of a Trump presidency—if he doesn’t get us all killed—might be to restore a sense of perspective to the Left. Once we were a world-historical movement. Capitalists trembled in their top hats. Then we began the lengthy process of eating ourselves alive without anesthetic. The struggle continues.